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Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani, born November 12, 1948, is the 7th President of Iran and also a Muslim cleric, lawyer, academic and former diplomat. | Photo: | Hassan Rouhani, Iran, President, Cleric, Nuclear,

Is a Crash Unavoidable?

"There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others." --Niccolo Machiavelli
Sometimes these days, as an American, it seems as though we are in a speeding automobile with an inexperienced driver at the wheel who suddenly decides to switch lanes into oncoming traffic. Hope though we might, a crash is all but unavoidable.

In CIA veteran Tennent H. Bagley's latest book, "Spymaster, Startling Cold War Revelations of a Soviet KGB Chief," the author relates a conversation with Sergey A. Kondrashev, a man who played important roles during fifty years of service with the KGB. As Bagley writes, "I mentioned to Kondrashev one of these recurrent themes I had noticed, so-called differences of opinion between Politburo 'hardliners' and 'liberals,' 'hawks' and 'doves.' Kondrashev confirmed that his people had pushed this misconception, so beloved of Western commentators and analysts, to cause confusion about Soviet policy-making options."

It would seem that the SVR liaison officers in Tehran are providing effective advice to their VEVAK colleagues, and the Obama Administration's foreign policy continues its long march to ignominy. "Leading from behind" is one thing; being gulled into an ill-considered agreement is entirely another, especially when the result is the alienation of long-time allies and the degradation of trust in the United States as the prime guarantor of stability in the region. Trust has been degraded to the extent that even the Israelis and the Saudis are now discussing how they might act jointly should they decide to launch a military attack on Iran's nuclear sites.

The main proponents of the "accord" cannot agree over what it means. Iranian President Rouhani brags that the sanctions regime against his country has been broken, and there are signs that the moderate concessions over the sanctions represent a crack in a dam that is ready to burst. Rouhani also declares that the agreement "recognizes" Iran's "nuclear rights." Mr. Kerry, on the other hand, says this is not so. Apparently the sides "agree to disagree" on this fundamental matter. Some accord!

In Israel, YNETNEWS.COM cites a government spokesman as saying, "This is a bad deal. It gives Iran exactly what it wanted ' a significant reduction of sanctions while preserving the most significant part of its nuclear program ' the agreement allows Iran to continue to enrich uranium, leaves the centrifuges in place and allows it to product fissile material for a nuclear weapon. The accord did not lead to the dismantling of the Arak plant '" (a new, heavy water facility for plutonium enrichment.)

Relax
Relax

It's just an olive branch plant. | Photo: Jeff Darcy |
Obama's headlong dash to abandon the region to its own devices is forcing a general re-alignment of alliances and has the Saudis, the Egyptians, and the Turks casting wistful glances at the acquisition of nuclear weapons. Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman believes that "' all these countries will now join the (arms) race. There is no doubt that the Saudis, Egyptians and Turks will now begin speaking in the same terminology (used by Iran) ' nuclear program for peaceful purposes, nuclear energy, but they will do exactly what Iran did." I am sure the North Koreans, the Chinese, the Pakistanis, and the Russians stand ready to assist in these endeavors.

Those closest to the problem don't seem to believe that the Iranians can be convinced or bullied into abandoning their quest for nukes. They don't see the much vaunted interim agreement forged with the mullahs by the P5+1 group as anything but a delay, at best. They rightly fear for their own security.

The problem Iran poses to the world is one of nuclear proliferation. Ironically, the process just begun in Geneva may well lead to even more proliferation.

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Updated May 10, 2017 9:58 AM EDT | More details

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